Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Before Braintree Acquisition, PayPal Was Interested in Buying Stripe

stripe_artPayPal announced this morning that its parent company, eBay, had agreed to acquire Braintree, a Chicago-based payments company with several big-name digital commerce clients.

But was Braintree the No. 1 acquisition target for PayPal and eBay? That’s an open question.

AllThingsD has learned that PayPal approached payments startup Stripe several times about an acquisition, according to several industry sources familiar with the discussions. The most recent inquiry was made within the last month, these people said.

These discussions never got very far, though, because Stripe made it clear that it had no interest in selling, according to sources.

Stripe, which launched in 2011, has raised $40 million in venture funding.

An eBay spokeswoman said the company does not comment on “rumors.” A Stripe spokeswoman declined to comment.

Stripe and Braintree have competed vigorously over the past two years as more and more commerce transactions have migrated to the Web and mobile phones. Stripe lets companies start accepting payments within a day via its APIs, which has been an attractive sell to developers. At the same time, that ease of signing on has scared off some bigger companies looking for more hands-on service when trusting a payments provider with financial information, according to industry observers.

Either way, PayPal likely saw similar qualities in Braintree and Stripe: Young companies that had displayed a scary amount of traction in handling payments for the fast-growing, digital-centric companies that have the chance to be the giant tech companies of the future.

So it seems that acquiring one of them became a priority.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work